WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Georgia Senator and his colleagues are in the process of finalizing widespread Veterans Affairs reform. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and the rest of the Senate VA Committee believe it’s time to pass comprehensive legislation to make VA services efficient and accountable.
"It’s a comprehensive bill that improves access to healthcare for the veteran, and holds the people in the VA accountable to the services they provide to the veteran,” said Isakson.
The bill includes more firing ability at the local level, which he says would bring more accountability from the top down. The legislation also looks to speed up the appeals process for veterans in the VA, expands the homeless veterans program, and specifically targets veterans of the Vietnam War. Spouses caring for disabled Vietnam vets will be given a stipend for their caregiving services.
The Senator also expressed concern with the VA automatically placing veterans, unable to manage their finances or benefits, on a Justice Department background check list. It could deny them access to purchasing firearms.
"If they have a criminal record, if they have a reason on a background check they shouldn’t be sold a weapon, that’s fine,” said Isakson. "But they shouldn’t automatically be precluded from being able to make an application simply because they were put automatically on a registry because of a totally unrelated situation.”
The Senator says they are just now finalizing the string of legislation. He hopes to have these reforms in place sometime in the near future.